Charlie, agender, 14, England.
When I was twelve/thirteen, I read a book called Quicksilver. One of the main characters – Tori – comes out to a friend (when he starts hitting on her) as asexual. Seeing as Tori rather lacked any emotions, it did not register within my brain that humans could be asexual in real life. That was the first time I came across the term asexual.
A few months later, I fell in love with a TV show called Sherlock. I became obsessed with it, and one day, while reading dozens of interviews with the cast and crew, I discovered the word asexual again. Steven Moffat was talking about how Sherlock was not asexual, as that would be too boring. This was the second time I came across the term asexual. But it did not properly register in my mind.
Then, one of my closest friends began exploring their gender and sexuality. He had figured out he was gay and trans*. He encouraged some of our mutual friends to start exploring their genders and sexual orientations. He would constantly talk about sex and orientations and identity and on and on and on about stuff that just didn’t appeal to me at all. He only ever talked about people being trans* within the binary, and about people only being able to be attracted to the opposite, the same, or both genders. I realised I never quite fit within the definitions he gave – and so, at the tender age of thirteen, I decided to throw away the cisgender female heterosexual labels and explore the large and rather scary world of gender and sexuality.
I was looking through the LGBT tag on tumblr one day when suddenly, the title of a particular post caught my eye: ‘It’s Asexual Awareness Week!’ I was intrigued. I vaguely remembered hearing about asexuality somewhere before, and so clicked on the post, thinking, ‘why not?’
And that, dear reader, was the third time I came across the word asexual.
I read the post quickly. It outlined what asexuality was, why an entire week was devoted to talking about it, and why the A in LGBTQA+ stands for asexual, not ally. I felt so excited. The more I read on, the more I realised – this is me! This is exactly what I feel! I’ve found the word!
After stalking the asexual tag on tumblr for hours and doing as much research as I could, I finally decided to start identifying as asexual. Although I was considered extremely young within the GSRM (Gender, Sexual, and Romantic Minority) community, I was so happy to have finally found my place. The more I read, the more I knew that I was asexual.
A year on, I have faced many difficulties – since I realised I was asexual, I starting noticing how everything within our culture was sexualised, from adverts to movies to words. I would say something, and my friends would shout out something like ‘That’s so wrong!’ or make some sexual comment. I used to think that the reason I was slightly disgusted with the hyper-sexualisation was simply down to being a late bloomer, but then I realised that I was simply part of an invisible section of society.
Although I came out to a few friends, I found myself breaking off a few friendships with people who did not respect the fact that I did not feel comfortable or included whenever sex was mentioned. But, although I lost a few friends along the way, I did make a lot of new ones who totally respected me.
There are ups and downs to being a very young asexual – although I was spared the anguish of feeling ‘broken,’ I was asked countless times how I knew I was asexual if I’d never had sex, or dismissed and simply told I was a late bloomer.
I’m also panromantic and agender – but I probably would not have been able to figure that out had I not realised I was asexual first.
Overall, I am a lot happier knowing that I am asexual – I have a community now, a place where I belong. And it’s fabulous.